Second close-up of pictureWant to change doctors? Think you could do better with someone else? Well…

It’s not unusual to feel frustrated with your medical care at some point during the course of life with illness. Perhaps you have a friend who is so happy with his or her doctor that you think yours isn’t as good. Or, you might have heard that a doctor “over there” has some kind of “magic” treatment that your current doctor either does not know about or will not use, and you think, “I should change.”

But before you leave, it’s a good idea to take a step back (or a deep breath, as I talk about in my book, Don’t Panic!: How to Keep Going When the Going Gets Tough ( seriously consider what you’d like to do. Changing doctors is a big step and will entail a lot of time and effort on your part, and might not guarantee that you’ll be feeling better after you do. Also, with any doctor, much of the follow-through is our (the patients’) responsibility; if you’re not willing to do what you need to do now, you might not do what you need to do with the new physician either.

Here are some considerations to weigh before you take the plunge and change docs:

  • What am I dissatisfied with regarding my current doctor? Have I discussed these concerns with him or her? Have I tried to work out my problems with my current doc?
  • Are there things about my current treatment that I am unwilling or unable to do, and how might this be affecting my state of health? Why am I not doing these things (or don’t want to do them)? Will the situation change if I move to another doctor?
  • Am I being realistic about the extent to which treatments can help my health get back to 100%? For example, do I understand my illness and, if it is incurable, do I accept that I have certain limitations or that the treatments for my illness are going to be limited no matter which doctor treats me for it?
  • How does personality play into my dissatisfaction with my current doc? Am I expecting my doctor to be my friend, or do I want a competent physician who knows how to work with the health issues I have?
  • What are my expectations about the way a physician’s office works today? (ease of getting appointments, organization of information, etc.) Am I sure that another office will be “perfect,” or can I approach the office I work with now differently so that I am not as frustrated/dissatisfied?
  • Pray over any decision you want to make, and ask for wisdom and objectivity. Sometimes, if we think about it a bit longer and away from the heat of a difficult day or encounter with our docs or their office staff, we can see more clearly where problems might be solved where we are. And if you do decide to change, help your new doc and his or her staff by bringing all your records, list of symptoms and past tests, hospitalizations, and other information. Allow time to get settled in – and keep praying for understanding, wisdom and compassion for all!
  • Blessings!
  • Maureen
More from Beliefnet and our partners